I’ve been talking to a lot of IT people about their ideal interface to users. At our last xChange User Conference, I ducked out for coffee with a VP of Operations at a financial services company, and we came up with this:
Step 1: Provide a polished and professional web experience.
IT should present its services in a consumer-quality interface designed from the consumers’ perspective. Make sure the site is easy to use by controlling the complexity in the background. And unify IT and business services in a way that makes sense to users. Sure, unifying lots of diverse services sounds like increasing complexity, but it doesn’t seem complex to users if the definition and presentation of their service options makes sense to them. The biggest challenge is hiding that complexity, which requires a well-connected and orchestrated system that unifies the information and automates the processes across business strategy, IT Ops and Application Development.
Step 2: Make search a central facility.
Customers are used to Googling for what they want on the web; provide the same interaction model. Of course, you need a well-written and fresh knowledge base so there are useful search results when users need information. The goal is getting needs met fast, with as little intervention as possible. Think of users the same way the business thinks of its customers.
Step 3: Be transparent: set expectations up-front on service cost, turn-around time, etc.
Give users insight into choices, let them discover answers on their own, and give them real-time access to the status of requests or issues they submit. Let them help you continually improve (and avoid follow-up calls or tickets) via satisfaction surveys that rate the service, quality of knowledge articles, etc.
Step 4: Measure and adapt.
Doing this right is a continual improvement journey. You’re looking for ways to make processes smarter, to trim costs and time, to add and extend services and options, to satisfy users. With good metrics and reporting – which means also having the ability to drill down and explore – you can find areas that need to be adapted. And you can communicate your progress to stakeholders.
What do you think? Would this meet your needs for service management and delivery? Please add your comments here.